Time Marches on. Change is Good.

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Front entrance to Otter Creek Used Books in the Lazarus Building

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The Vermont section

I want to pay tribute to 20 Main Street – The Lazarus Building – previous home to Otter Creek Used Books. The building will be coming down this weekend. I feel bad that I’m not sad about it. Probably because I remember how I felt being down in the basement day after day. I brought life into it with paint, rearranged bookcases to even removing some for air circulation and light flow. What there was of the light. I was proud of what I brought into it but I have to admit there was only so much I could do. Do I even mention all the air fresheners that were sprinkled around the rooms? Crazy when we moved how many we found.

It was a good space though. I made the most of it. And it was filled with used books! So that accounts for some good vibes. I loved the front window and all of the light and warmth it provided. I like how through Jessica and her professional decorating skills new life was brought into the front upstairs room. The blue tiled floor, the yellow walls. Over-sized letters announcing BOOKS down the stairs. The wrought iron railing. Piling books on the stairs. And when you ventured down them the layout of bookshelves and all the dissplays on top. It had character. The stepping into the back room where more books were discovered. I enjoyed hearing first time customers oohing and ahhing about the ‘hidden room’. And the access to the back of the store where I could – and did a number of times – run out to pick up my order from Noonies in between customers.

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The back room

When it would get quiet in the store I would listen to customers above me walking around Green Mountain Shoe & Apparel. Loved it when children were trying on new boots! Clomp, clomp, clomp!

There were a lot of good things about the space. As much as there was good there were that many of bad and ickyness. But that’s not for now. Now is a time to celebrate all that the building was and represented.

Stan Lazarus was a nice man. With a great smile and sense of humor. He was a giving man who gave back to his community. I shopped at Lazarus for my shoes, jeans, raincoats and more. I remember many occasions of checking out what they had to offer from elementary through college years. I know the building stands as a symbol of yesterdays to many people. When I made the decision to move the store – in anticipation of the work on the train tracks – I heard from many people their concerns of how the move would affect the life of the building. I agreed but I also knew it was time to move on including my business. Unfortunately the owners never kept up with modernizing the building as they should.

The front desk

The front desk

The space was good to me and my business. Now is the time to celebrate it. I was able to buy a failed business and through my limited funding allow the business to grow. The owners of the building were very supportive of my efforts and to that I’m grateful and appreciative. They understood my goals and how I was going to get there.

Time moves on and there is no stopping it. And I’m not going to try to. I’ve always been one to look at my options and make a decision based on what I’m seeing and what I’m anticipating. Knowing the train tracks and overpass were being addressed and how that would affect my business, the issues of the space and how my daily attitude was starting to change. I’m happy I did as I love this space here in the Marble Works. The positives are overwhelming here. I miss Main Street but that is the only thing I miss. Okay, and the big window. Thank you Stan and the Trustees of the Lazarus Estate for your support and encouragement. Time marches on and I feel good about it.

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Mat Hall with the sign he designed and painted. It was to encourage drivers to slow down as they rounded the corner. Children would stop to talk to Ollie the Otter.

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Always fun to decorate the window. This window was celebrating Books

 

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Sales could be found on the patio as well as on the first floor.

 

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Helen was a helper. Here she is singing songs she adapted from the poetry of James Joyce

 

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Goodbye old friend!

 

“It is always important to know when something has reached its end. Closing circles, shutting doors, finishing chapters, it doesn’t matter what we call it; what matters is to leave in the past those moments in life that are over.” -Paulo Coelho, The Zahir 

Otter Updates

We’ve been very busy in the store! So many books have come in so most of the time it’s been going through them – SPS (sorting, pricing, shelving).

1-photo(109)1-photo(106)1-photo(108)Slow and steady. Civil War to local authors and fiction and a lot of others sprinkled in. Come in and check them out. Surely something will catch your eye.

Last Friday – July 11, 2014 – was the Middlebury Arts Walk. The artist was Hannah Harding-Minton (SCAD ’05). Below is a sampling of her work keeping to our store’s theme of Words.

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Hope your summer is going as great as ours. We’ve a great selection of good summer reads. Stop in and peruse or at least stop in to say hi! Enjoy!

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June Middlebury Arts Walk – Featuring beanforest

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beanforest logo

For the June 2014 Middlebury Arts Walk the store is featuring button art by artist, Vince of beanforest. All the way from Grand Rapids, Michigan. Keeping with the theme I set for 2014: Celebrate Words. Dozens of wearable buttons spouting all sorts of thoughts relating to books, authors, reading, literature, etc.

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sampling of beanforest buttons

A little info about Vince: In elementary school, he often got in trouble for laughing at inappropriate times. In middle school, he often told failed jokes that were met with confused silence. His sense of humor finally balanced out somehow in high school. He enjoys writing, drawing, mixing metaphors, biking, meeting people, reading, anticipating the break in electronic dance music, anomalies, and dozens of thousands of other things, Writing in the third person distresses him.

All button orders are stamped by hand either by Vince or a friend, and with the exception of classic literature quotes in the public domain (Shakespeare, Melville, etc.), all artwork and phrases are original, written and designed by him. He offers so much more than what I chose as I kept to the theme of a bookstore.

You can find Vince (as I did!) on etsy.com or through his art/comic blog at jankybeanforest.blogspot.com.

My favorite button? “hell ya, helvetica!” For its randomness.

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June 2014 Middlebury Arts Walk display featuring beanforest

So my friend goes to Paris…

and, of course, he goes to Shakespeare & Company (twice!). He so nicely brought me a gift.

Perfect! Right?  And no, I won’t sell it. Promise! (Yes, I’ve been known to sell my daughter’s books as I’m reading them in the bookstore. Sorry, Hannah…) It’s definitely a book that goes home with me. Thanks, Bill!

“Paris in May” and the May Arts Walk Celebrating “Words through Art”

Lots going on in here! And of course…there’s always the used books…

paris2Paris in May! Celebrating all that’s French. Particularly Paris. Why? Why not?  Read my previous post to catch-up, if you want. Shakespeare & Co. is the focal point and acknowledging Sylvia Beach and George Whitman, Paris and France. All in good fun. And please note the cherry blossom branch in the front window. I made them. And kinda proud that I came up with idea. You see, if I’m not reading I’m embroidering. Making up or adapting designs. So here’s to Paris!

Middlebury Arts Walk! Happening this Friday night, May 9, 5-7pm. Stop by. The theme for 2014 in the store is Words. I’m pretty excited about it. Words in many forms. For Friday night the featured artist is Nancy Scarcello, a self-taught artist, photographer, picture framer, drum maker and set designer from Florence, VT. She’s also a writer and a lover of words (:-)), a sign painter for many years, so creating with words is a melding of her two favorite things, arts and words which is also a vehicle for her to put her universal message out into the world. Perfect for celebrating Words!

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“Heaven is a place with books and cherry trees,” Shakespeare and Company. (From a 2014 email they sent me!)

OCUB @ Sustainable Living Expo 2014

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Otter Creek Used Books will be at this show, March 29th. And looking forward to it. Used books fit right into this philosophy.

Look for Hannah in the gym, booth #M43.  She’ll have oodles of books available for sale from solar building, ecology, farming, herbs and gardening, spirituality, self-sufficiency, vegan cookbooks, to building and repairing houses. The list goes on and on.

I’ll be in the store selling what doesn’t go to the Expo.

Should be a good show. Check it out!

Meeting 2014 Head On!

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Hard to believe but here is 2014. I never do resolutions but this year I’m so into it. Thought I’d share some of what I’ve written down with the store in mind:

  • More bookcases!
  • More shelves!
  • More postings
  • More books online
  • More photos
  • More creativity

I think you get where I’m coming from. More! And it’s not pressure I’m putting on myself but getting totally back involved in the store. I’ve got all these ideas swirling in my head so with the new year it’s time I get those ideas out of the head and into the store. I can easily get bogged down with boxes of books so I’m trying to, I guess, have more fun and letting go. Giving myself permission to not work so hard (sorting, pricing, shelving) but enjoy what I have – an amazing used bookstore. Probably it’s more amazing that I own a used bookstore.

And I want to post interesting books that come in so you see what my inventory is like. Especially since this website is still a blog. Like this book, “Flowers: Their Origins, Shapes, Perfumes & Colours” by J. E. Taylor, Ph.D., F.L.S. Published by John Grant, Edinburgh, 1906, fourth edition:

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And a quote from the book: “Numbers of hard-working men and women, wearied with brain as well as manual labour, are learning to restore their lowered energies by such country outings as the pursuit of natural science involves. Every day we are proving that “man liveth not by bread alone”; and that sunny blue skies, laughing streams, and flower-bedecked fields are full of lofty and even spiritual teachings.”

Happy New Year!

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“Perhaps that is where our choice lies — in determining how we will meet the inevitable end of things, and how we will greet each new beginning,” from the book BURNING by Elana K. Arnold.

Happy New Year one and all! May 2014 equally bless us with good cheer and fortune.

Thank you for a wonderful 2013.

Barbara Harding, owner

@foundhello discovered in Marble Works

American Flatbread, Marble Works, Middlebury VT

American Flatbread, Marble Works, Middlebury VT

Otter Creek Used Books, Marble Works, Middlebury VT

Mail drop, Marble Works, Middlebury, VT

Mail drop, Marble Works, Middlebury, VT

See the green post-it notes?  The other day, my daughter, Hannah, just returned to the store from checking the mail and walked from the Big Yellow Room towards the Children’s Room when she let out a squeal, “We got a post-it, too!” What? She explained to me that she had seen a post-it note on Flatbread’s outdoor menu board and just discovered one in our store. Well, that has to mean something! Recognizing “@foundhello” was a twitter thing, I went online to check it out. Apparently someone goes around and puts post-it notes on random places for people to find and enjoy. And to encourage. Positive messages. So I grabbed my cell and took photos.

The other day I went to post a letter and as I approached the mail box I noted something green fluttering and lo and behold! another post-it note! Marble Works received three! At least that’s all I found.

I really like the message left in my store. I don’t know if it is a message meant for me but I am taking it to heart. I’m not going out without a good fight! I’ll continue working hard to keep this store open. I don’t want to take my inventory home and be an online used book store. So to whoever you are, thank you! It was a nice treat to find the notes and smile.

I love stuff like this.